herald

Sunday 25 August 2019

Government policy is to 'get people out of cars' to avoid climate apocalypse

Shane Ross
Shane Ross

Motorists will be forced to think green to avoid a "climate apocalypse" after the Government unveiled its Climate Action Plan.

A revolution in transport is planned over the next decade, with Transport Minister Shane Ross saying the policy is "to get people out of private cars because they are the biggest offenders for emissions".

There is effectively no VRT on high-value electric vehicles (EVs) and a low motor tax rate of €120, but take-up is still slow.

A change in approach is suggested, with a new car-scrappage scheme to be considered from 2020.

New fossil-fuel cars will be banned from 2030 and the granting of NCTs will stop in 2045.

Excise duty on diesel is to be hiked, while all fossil fuels will be repeatedly slapped with increases in carbon taxes.

Another action point says local authorities should dev- elop a regulatory framework on low-emission zones and parking pricing policies.

This could see them restrict access to certain parts of a city or town to zero-emission vehicles only.

Solar

The Government wants one million EVs to be on the roads by 2030. To achieve this, the plan says a charging network that underpins public confidence must be developed.

The plan also seeks to change how electricity is produced. Electricity accounted for 19.3pc of Ireland's greenhouse gases in 2017.

There has been a shift towards renewable energy in recent years, with just over 30pc now coming from sources such as wind and solar.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said the plan will result in "reduced imports of fossil fuels and maybe even the possibility of Ireland becoming an electricity exporter".

The target is to achieve 70pc renewable electricity by 2030. This will involve the phasing out of coal and peat-fired electricity generation plants.

There will be a big focus on micro-generation, with households expected to start selling electricity back to the grid by 2021.

The plan includes a target of retro-fitting 500,000 buildings to achieve a B2 energy rating.

Around 600,000 heat pumps will be installed.

Under the plan, the install- ation of oil boilers will be effectively banned from 2022 and gas boilers from 2025 in all new dwellings.

A review is to take place on the replacement of oil and gas boilers in homes.

For homeowners who engage in retro-fitting, there will be an opportunity to have it funded through an "easy payback model", such as through their electricity bill.

There is also a target to halve household food waste and to ban single-use plastic convenience items such as polystyrene food containers.

The plan says all plastic packaging should be re-usable or recyclable by 2030.

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